ALBANY PARK — The city’s second meadery tasting room — and only meadery on the North Side — aims to open in Albany Park next spring.
Co-founders Peter Schultz and Brian Davids are building out Second City Meadery‘s production facility and tasting room in an old auto mechanic’s shop at 4465 N. Elston Ave.
Schultz was inspired to start making mead, an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, at home in 2014 because his wife loved the sweet flavor — but buying it off the shelf was “a little pricey,” he said.
The first few batches were terrible. But after experimenting and researching for a few years, he entered his meads in a few home brew competitions and started winning medals, he said.
Schultz’s wife was so impressed with his passion for brewing mead that she encouraged him to quit his day job as an accountant and pursue it full-time.
He teamed up with his friend, Davids, who had brewed beer at home for almost a decade, and the idea for Second City Meadery was born. They started by testing small batches of mead, giving it away for free in 2017.
The pair built a following by sharing their mead for free, at local bottle shares around the city and at places like Beer Temple, 3173 N. Elston Ave.
While craft breweries have exploded in Chicago, mead is more of an “untested market,” Schultz said. Meaderies do have some presence on the South Side — Wild Blossom, opened its tasting room in Beverly in 2017 and Midwest Meadery also brews mead out of Pullman.
But this will be the first up north, and he’s hoping to collaborate — instead of compete — with the craft breweries that call Chicago home.
“Mead felt like a niche where we could start a business that wouldn’t have to compete with all the craft breweries in the city,” Schultz said.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.